Concerns about the Distribution of GSEHD Funding

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The purpose of this letter is to express our concerns and propose a reassessment of the distribution of GSEHD funding for second-year students to maintain the positive reputation of GSEHD programs. It was with great excitement and appreciation, that many of us chose to attend GW because of the tuition support provided to our cohort for the 2017-2018 academic year. When making a decision on what university to attend, this was a sign of institutional support and we are disappointed at the lack of financial support from GSEHD going into our second year.

Below we have summarized our main points of concern regarding the limited funding provided to second-year students for the 2018-2019 academic year.

1. The GoogleForm that was emailed to students to be considered for merit scholarship renewal requested our name, GWID, and the GPA for the Fall semester of 2017. As many of us have a similar GPA, above a 3.5 and believe that graduate accomplishments extend beyond GPA, it is quite disappointing that there was not more asked on the application to aid in the decision process. We are unclear of the criteria that were used to disperse merit awards.

2. The price of tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year is $1,710 per credit, an increase of $55 per credit plus additional fees. For part-time students, this is an additional $330, and for full-time students, this is an additional $495.

3. It was advertised to us by the Executive Director of the Office of Student Life that the chances of receiving merit aid for a second year were likely. As many of us have maintained high academic standing, and have contributed to the GW community through student organizations, graduate assistantships, and research opportunities we believe this should only strengthen our eligibility to receive merit aid.

4. Many of us are student employees on campus, which was advertised as a way to help pay for our tuition. However, the majority of student employment positions pay between $12.50 and $15.00 for 20 hours a week. In addition, there are no benefits associated with student employment and no negotiations for better salaries and working conditions. This salary is not nearly enough to cover rent, health insurance, transportation, let alone tuition.

As future and current educators, we believe in access to education regardless of economic status. With limited financial resources, many of us are considering taking a leave of absence or transferring to another university to access affordable education. GSEHD defines its core values using the following statement: “The University values a dynamic, student-focused community stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity and built upon a foundation of integrity, creativity, and openness to the exploration of new ideas.” At this point, we do not believe GSEHD is living up to these values.

In light of this, we ask that you reconsider our cases to be granted funding so that we may continue to be positive voices for GW and GSEHD.